Canon's robust HG10 camcorder offers support for microSD and includes a 40GB hard drive that allows for up to 15 hours of full HD 1,080i video.

If you opt for the highest-quality setting, this drops to five-and-a-half hours of shooting. The battery lasts for just an hour, in any case, so don't expect to fill the Canon HG10's hard drive in one go.

The Canon HG10 also offers a respectable 10x optical zoom, a true optical image stabiliser that effectively avoids jumpy footage at maximum telephoto and the ability to grab stills during a video sequence.

The Canon HG10, which sports a 3Mp Cmos sensor, takes a few seconds to warm up; if you leave it on standby, you can be shooting a mere second later via the quick-start button on the side.

Images are composed and reviewed via the Canon HG10's adjacent flip-out 2.7in widescreen LCD.

The palm-sized Canon HG10 also features an alternative pullout electronic viewfinder, so you can keep shooting in bright sunshine.

Autofocus is generally quick and accurate, and most of the Canon HG10's buttons are large and accessible. The switch for flicking between video and stills capture (up to 3.1Mp) is awkwardly placed, however.

You'll also need to have a microSD card for stills, since you can't commit photos to hard disk along with video. For this price you might expect manual focus control, but none is provided with the Canon HG10.

You can enhance the look of your footage by selecting the Canon HG10's built-in cinema mode which, combined with its 25 frames per second (fps) progressive framerate, lends your digital images a film-like feel.

Footage displays naturalistic (if warm) colours, with the auto white balance getting it right under a wide variety of lighting conditions.
Played back through stereo speakers, the sound quality produced by the Canon HG10 is average.


Despite minor gripes, the HG10 offers solid performance at a reasonable price. And that's enough for us to recommend the Canon HG10.